Event Section
Top men seeds sprout, but women wither early


Hyderabad, January 9: Fifth seed G. Sathiyan had to bright out his best against Haryana’s Sarthak Gandhi to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals in the 77th Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships at the Kotla Vijay Bhaskara Reddy Indoor Stadium here today.


The PSPB paddler won 4-2 but sixth and seven-seeded Devesh Karia of Gujarat and Rajasthan’s Sudhanshu Grover, respectively, made their exit in the pre-quarterfinals. Haryana’s Jubin Kumar accounted for Grover with a 4-1 verdict while PSPB’s Subhajit Saha thumped Karia 4-0.


Sathiyan had a dream start to lead 2-0 before Sarthak staged his comeback in the third extended game after four deuces. The Haryana lad won 16-4 but Sathiyan was quick enough to gather himself soon enough to go 3-1 up. Yet, Sarthak did not give up and managed yet another set off his rival before Sathiyan closed the shop on him. Jubin, on the other hand, cashed in on his roaring form to outsmart his PSPB rival Grover despite the latter managing to take a game off him. Others, including top-seeded Sharath Kamal, No. 2 Anthony Amalraj, No. 3 Soumyajit Ghosh, No. 4 Harmeet Desai and eight-seed Sanil Shetty entered the last-eight stages easily.



Struggle for Manika  


Top-seed Manika Batra was ill-at-ease right from the word go against Maharashtra’s Senhora D’Souza and the trouble for her continued until the decider. At one time, the Maharashtra girl was 3-1 up and an upset was very much on cards. Yet the gritty Manika, despite going into a shell, suddenly opened out to send Senhora scurrying for points. It was providence that Manika escaped several unforced errors in each game to take it to the decider.


In the decider, too, she was up 5-3 when they changed sides. But Senhora fought bravely to square it up at 5-5 then with a slender lead both saw their chances. However, at 10-7 Manika sent one to the net but in the next opportunity seized the advantage to enter quartrfinals, much to the relief of her coach Sandeep Gupta and her mother sitting in the gallery.


Credit to Nikhat


Telangana’s Nikhat Banu and seeded eight must be given full credit for taking West Bengal’s Mousumi Paul the full distance in the pre-quarterfinals. However, Nikhat has to blame herself for not pressing the advantage when she led 3-1 and letting the West Bengal paddlers a cozy ride from a precarious position. Like Manika, Mousumi had to win the last three games and that’s where Nikhat lost her plot. In fact, after a couple of deuce she let Mousumi off the hook in the fifth game from where her rival was a transformed person as Nikhat wilted under Mousumi’s continued onslaught.


Fifth-seeded Ankita Das kept herself within reach of her RBI rival Pallabi Kundu and led 3-2. But Pallabi fought back well in the fifth game to give herself an even chance in the decider. Ankita, however, was up to the task and stopped her early to romp home winners.


Mockery of seeding


Making a mockery of the seeding, both unseeded Reeth Rishya and Krittwika Sinha Roy sent No. 3 and 4 seeds K. Shamini (PSPB) and Divya Deshpande (Mah) packing in the pre-quarters. Sixth seed Pooja Sahasrabuddhe struggled to overcome West Bengal’s Ayhika Mukherjee 4-2 and No. 7 Madhurika Patkar and No. 2 Mouma Das both had easy quarterfinal passages beating Delhi’s Neha Agarwal and RBI’s Shweta Parte, respectively, with 4-1 margins.


Shamini was not only served and returned badly but even failed to counter the normal ones that Reeth had sent back. Several errors at net only hastened the end of Shami as Reeth grew in confidence from each of her winners and of the negative points she was awarded with. Divya, too, was inconsistent with her drives against Krittwika who played far better than she did the other day in team events.   






Men’s Singles:


Pre-quarterfinals: A. Sharath Kamal bt Lalrin Puia (Miz) 4-1 (12-14, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4), Sanil Shetty bt Sourav Saha (PSPB) 4-1 (11-5, 11-13, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10), G. Sathiyan bt Sarthak Gandhi (Har) 4-2 (12-10, 11-5, 14-16, 11-4, 11-13, 11-8), Harmeet Desai bt R. Abhishek (TN) 4-1 (11-7, 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4), Soumyajit Ghosh bt Arjun Ghosh (WB) 4-1 (11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2), Subhajit Saha bt Devesh Karia (Guj) 4-0 (11-4, 15-13, 17-15, 14-12), Jubin Kumar (Har) bt Sudhanshu Grover (Raj) 4-1 (11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5), Anothony Amalraj bt Subash Mani (IAAD) 4-0 (11-9, 11-7, 14-12, 11-3).


Women’s Singles:


Pre-quarterfinals: Manika Batra bt Senhora D’souza (Mah) 4-3 (7-11, 11-5, 11-13, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8), Mousumi Paul bt Nikhat Banu (Telg) 4-3 (11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-4), Ankita Das bt Pallabi Kundu (RBI) 4-3 (6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6), Krittwika Sinha Roy bt Divya Deshpande (Mah) 4-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 14-12), Reeth Risha bt K. Shamini (PSPB) 4-0 (12-10, 13-11, 11-8, 12-10), Pooja Sahasrabudhe bt Ayhika Mukherjee (WB) 4-2 (11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3), Madhurika Patkar bt Neha Agarwal (Del) 4-1 (4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3, 11-4), Mouma Das bt Shweta Parte (RBI) 4-1 (11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).